The summer sun pierced through the shapely green oak leaves. Whispers of grass tickled my ankles as I waded along the private island encircled by our gravel drive.
This was my first time, although the calendar promised others. My mom had suggested I wait inside, but those walls could not contain me. I was too drenched in anticipation to sit idly by. The tide couldn’t have held me back from this Tuesday’s Noon.
My hands swished along my favorite shorts and I found myself wondering if I should have worn a skirt instead. What does a 9 year-old girl wear while going on a father-daughter lunch date, anyway? Would he be able to leave work like anticipated? And then I saw him. The knight in shining armor. My Dad in a red Astro van, ascending up the drive.
Blink and you’ll find me in middle school on the most dreaded day of the year. For a boyfriendless, preteen girl whose mouth felt like a maze of metal that is. Yes. You know the one. Valentine’s Day.
And as I sat in English, awaiting test results, the door cracked open. In came the Principle’s Secretary carrying a bouquet of flowers. I immediately went into survival mode for I had to plan my I’m-not-disappointed face. While trying to decide what I would say to the lucky receiver, one word made my mind freeze. Did I hear her right? Did she just say my name?
Shock anchored me to my seat, so she met me there and handed me the cellophane-wrapped handful of beauty. Being certain she made a mistake, I ripped open the card. And could have burst right then and there on the asbestos-infused tile.
I’d receive that same card years later, only this time 3 hours separated the two of us. When I called to thank him, he asked me to describe what I had received. “I wanted something that would last longer this time,” he said. Never had I pampered something so. I gave that plant mist baths, stroked its leaves. Named him Coby. And that Jack-in-the-pulpit and I thrived together through the next two years of college.
So did a message on my answering machine. And my mind travels to that late night following my algebra study group. When I found my two roommates hovering over the old wooden crate stand by our phone. Both burst into excitement when they saw me and it took me pressing the green triangle for them to quiet down.
My dad’s deep tenor voice followed as he unabashedly sang into the receiver. The song that had ended my days so many times before. All those years, my roommates and I never erased that message. And sometimes I would catch one of them hitting play before tucking in for the night. It seems our desire to be wooed to sleep never goes away. And the phrase ‘goodnight sweetheart’ never grows sour.
Friends, with Father’s day approaching, I find myself reminiscent of my experiences with the man who holds that title for me. There’s so much I could share with you. Because no matter how I look at it, my Dad is a deep reason for me being who I am today.
You might remember my Mother’s Day Utterance. My first discovery while reading Proverbs 31. How I shared lessons learned from my very own mother (post is found HERE). Friends, I’m thinking I’ll do something like that for my dad this year, too. I’ll write lessons I’ve learned from him. Maybe mail him memories like these above. Ones that still captivate my heart.
And perhaps I’ll succeed. I might just switch roles and let him know. Unabashedly. How much I think of him. My first date. My first valentine. The one who sang love right into my soul. And maybe he’ll see. How I still carry the love he poured down on me so many years ago.
How about you, friend? Do you have fond memories of your dad? How do you plan to honor him this year? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.